Chelsea have stepped up their push to acquire a stake in Strasbourg after receiving a major boost in their bid to establish a multi-club network.
The Blues had opened talks with the president of the French Ligue 1 club Marc Keller over their interest in buying them last month.
But negotiations did not progress further with current UEFA regulations prohibiting two clubs with the same owners from competing in the same tournament.
However, the idea has not gone away with Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly, a keen admirer of the multi-club model, and a deal is still on the cards after UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin hinted at a rules change.
“We’ve had five or six owners of clubs who want to buy another club,” Ceferin told Gary Neville’s The Overlap YouTube channel (via the Guardian).
“We have to see what to do. The options are that it stays like that or that we allow them to play in the same competition. I’m not sure yet.”
Ceferin’s declaration comes after Manchester United’s impending takeover raised issues around the potential conflict of two clubs in the same competition coming under one owner.
The two major bidders for the club, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, already have affiliations with other European clubs.
The Qatari banker is the brother of Paris Saint-Germain owner Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani while Sir Ratcliffe is the CEO of INEOS, who owns Ligue 1 club OGC Nice.
Strasbourg president, Keller, confirmed this month he was in talks with Boehly over a full or partial sale of the club, and it is understood those discussions have intensified.
Any changes to the UEFA rules will come as a boost to Chelsea, who have been looking for clubs to invest in, having been previously rejected by Lyon, Sochaux, and Bordeaux.
However, Strasbourg could provide an end to Chelsea’s search for a club in a country that boasts a lucrative source of some of the best young talents in world football.
The Blues have also explored clubs in Belgium and Portugal, with Boehly believed to have consulted Jorge Mendes over which clubs to consider and held talks with Portimonense’s owners over a potential investment.
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